By: Vernon Felton
While 2012 is just yet groggily stumbling to its feet the bike industry is already opening the door on 2013 product. In a few days' time, Sea Otter will be rolling along at breakneck speed and you'll be privy to news of next year's product before this year's riding season has really begun to roll.
The first salvo in the coming cavalcade of new-fresh-minty-and-better? You're looking at it right now: a carbon fiber version of Giant's most successful dual-suspension bike to date: the Anthem X 29er. The new bike gets the word "Advanced" (that'd be for advanced composites) inserted into the title, drops 185 grams from the frame and gets a boost in stiffness.
Giant claims that the new composite front triangle (the rear swingarm continues to be crafted from aluminum) increases steering stiffness by seven percent and pedaling stiffness by three percent. Theoretically, that boost in stiffness should yield improved handling and acceleration.
The top-tier Anthem X Advanced 29er 0 tips the scales at an unbelievably light 22 pounds and though it's a flyweight machine destined for race courses the world over, Giant maintains that the Anthem X 29er platform is more versatile than your garden variety XC bike. Wins at Downieville (among other events) testify to that fact.
How will all these changes pan out in the dirt? I'll tell you in 24 hours, as we're slated to put the goods to the test tomorrow on Southern California's Backbone trail. Stay tuned.